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America's Black Founders: Revolutionary Heroes & Early Leaders    by Nancy Sanders order for
America's Black Founders
by Nancy Sanders
Order:  USA  Can
Chicago Review Press, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Children nine years of age and older and adults will find this a fascinating book. With capsule biographies of many important but not typically studied historic figures, Nancy Sanders looks at the lives and contributions of the lesser known black heroes and activists of the time period.

Tracing not only their contributions to the Revolutionary War but also the role they played in the creation of a new country, these black men and women came from all walks of life. They were soldiers, sailors, poets, merchants, musicians and doctors.

An opening time line from 1760 to 1837 sets the historical parameters of the book and indicates where the subjects fit in during the period. Next are six chapters that focus on specific times. These include the Colonial Period, Years of Unrest, Beginnings of the War, and the American Revolution itself. The two concluding chapters, African Americans As Citizens and African Americans Lead the Way, focus on the contributions that followed the war.

Lots of photographs, illustrations and images of authentic documents and maps are used to help the reader flesh out the individuals mentioned and understand the important events discussed.

A major bonus educators and parents home schooling their children will appreciate are 21 activities designed to engage the reader actively in the book. These include drawing a political cartoon, cooking pepper pot soup, drafting a letter to a government official and exploring one's own family tree.

Names like Absalom Jones, Jarena Lee, Charlotte Vandine Forten and Peter Salem may not be recognizable before you read this book, but afterwards you'll be very aware of the contributions they made during America's early years.

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